Varicose veins are unsightly and uncomfortable, but are they a sign of heart disease? While their presence indicates a blood flow problem somewhere when the veins are carrying blood back to the heart to be oxygenated, varicose veins don’t cause or indicate heart problems. But it’s important to know what health risks they do carry.
Causes and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Poor circulation in one or more veins can lead to the blood pooling, often in the leg, which causes varicose veins. Symptoms include:
- Visible dark blue or purple veins that may twist or bulge
- Aching or heaviness in affected limbs
- Feelings of swelling, itching or burning
- Muscle cramps
People who are more prone to develop varicose veins are:
- Those with a family history
- People who are overweight or obese
- Women experiencing changes in hormone levels
- Those in occupations that require excessive sitting or standing
When Varicose Veins and Heart Disease Combine
People who simultaneously suffer from heart disease and varicose veins may be more prone to developing infections and swelling. For example, if you suffer right-sided heart failure there may be an increase in venous pressure in the legs.
If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to increased pain and swelling or an inflammatory condition in the vein. Blood clots can form in deeper veins and may obstruct blood flow, causing problems to other vessels. The clot can also break free and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Baker to learn about options for removing your varicose veins and the cosmetic and medical conditions they can cause.